Monday

10th Dec 2018

Hungarian citizenship referendum fails due to low turnout

A controversial referendum on whether to allow millions of ethnic Hungarians living in neighbouring countries to get Hungarian citizenship appears to have failed due to low voter turnout.

According to the Hungarian National Referendum Office, the turnout was only about 38 percent, which is not enough for making the result binding.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The Hungarian opposition hoped to reunite the country, which lost two-thirds of its territory after World War I (Photo: European Commission)

However, 52 percent of those who took part in the referendum voted in favour of granting dual citizenship.

The outcome is seen as a major victory to the Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, whose government was campaigning against giving passports to ethnic Hungarians living abroad.

The opposition argued that a positive result would have helped to reunite the nation, without changing the borders.

Hungary lost as much as two-thirds of its territory when the borders were redrawn after World War I.

About five million ethnic Hungarians are living in neighbouring countries such as Romania, Ukraine, Croatia and Serbia.

Hungarian passports would have helped ethnic Hungarians enter the country much more easily. Also, since most of them live in countries which are not yet part of the EU, a new passport would have made it easier for them to travel or find jobs in other EU member states.

At the same time, Hungarians also voted on another issue, whether health services should remain in state hands. This vote also failed due to low turnout.

Romanian PM wades into '€20m fine for journalists' row

Prime minister Viorica Dancila told EUobserver that Romania's constitution guarantees freedom of expression for journalists - but insisted EU data protection rules must be respected. Her comments follow threats to impose a €20m fine on a group of investigative reporters.

Finland shamed on racism in EU study

A survey of 12 EU states ranks Finland as the place where people of African descent experience the most abuse, followed by Luxembourg and Ireland.

Deutsche Bank dragged into Danish bank scandal

Deutsche Bank, Germany's top lender, handled about €130bn of the "suspicious" money in the Danske Bank affair, new revelations show, as whistleblower testifies to MEPs.

News in Brief

  1. Report: May cancels Tuesday's Brexit vote in parliament
  2. Belgium left with minority government after UN migration pact row
  3. EU court: UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50
  4. UK remains largest arms producer in western Europe
  5. Macron to address French nation in bid to calm tension
  6. Socialists confirm Timmermans as Spitzenkandidat
  7. France to investigate Kremlin influence on 'Yellow Vest' riots
  8. Air passenger transport in EU reaches record high

Opinion

EU parliament vote strengthens whistleblower protection

We must not undervalue what a massive step the European Parliament vote represents. The hard work has paid off. We can take a moment to celebrate, but the hard work begins again for finalising strong protection for European whistleblowers.

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. France and Germany back Dutch on human rights sanctions
  2. COP24: vital to keep big polluters away from climate policy
  3. EU foot-dragging puts rule of law at risk in Hungary, Poland
  4. Merkel loyalist AKK wins CDU leadership battle
  5. Brexit vote and Merkel's successor top This Week
  6. Brexit, migration, cities - and the UN pact
  7. EU Commission spins half-truth on 'unsafe' refugee boats
  8. COP24 Nordic Pavilion: sharing climate solutions with the world

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us